KAVOD 2003 Annual Report
Detailing Allocations and Activities from January 1-December 31, 2002
8914 Farnam Court • Omaha, Nebraska • 68114-4076
[email protected] • www.kavod.org
Summary of KAVOD’s Financial Activities
Allocations: 2002: $58,050.00
Allocations to date (‘93-‘02): $308,640.53
Expenses to date: $75.48
The great sage Hillel taught: “In a place where no one behaves like a human being, you must strive to be human!”
(Pirkei Avot 2:5)
What is the essence of “striving to be human?” For us, it is kavod. The Hebrew word kavodtranslates as “dignity, honor, integrity.” In the Jewish tradition, people – all people – are worthy of these things inherently by virtue of the fact that they are human beings. It is an honor and privilege to be associated with the Mitzvah heroes that we’ve met through KAVOD over the years, for they are our teachers about the nuances of striving to be thoroughly human. In this spirit, we asked some of our Mitzvah heroes, “What is a human being?” Throughout this year’s annual report, we’ve included some of their responses.
What a year it has been! This has been a time in which the inherent KAVOD of human beings lies tattered all over the world. Terrorism, homicide bombings, war, and hatred have been the most prominent stories of the year. It is our hope that the essential humanity of our mitzvahheroes in this report stands in radical opposition to such sadness.
In 2002, KAVOD donated $58,050 to dozens of inspirational programs in the U.S., Israel, and elsewhere. Since our inception nearly ten years ago, we’ve donated over $315,000 – with an overhead of under 0.03%! (People often ask how we are able to operate with such low overhead. Our administrator and board members are all volunteers, and all direct expenses, such as mailings and photocopying, are paid for directly by our board.)
To all our supporters over the past year: Yasher Koach — all the more strength to you! We hope you will enjoy reading about the projects and programs that your gifts have supported. Many will be familiar, as we generally have continued (and increased) our commitments to groups we have supported in the past. Additionally, there are a number of wonderful programs (indicated with an asterisk) to which KAVOD contributed for the first time this year.
KAVOD Tzedakah Fellowship Update
With your help, we were able to launch our KAVOD fellowship program this year. Alissa Forrest and Jocee Hudson, 2nd year rabbinical students at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, are our first fellows, and we couldn’t be happier or more honored to be working with them. The goals of this new program are ambitious: in partnership with HUC-JIR, we are training the next generation of rabbis, cantors, and Jewish educators to raise and distribute Tzedakah wisely and effectively.
Here’s how the fellowship works. Each fellow is paired with a “Mitzvah Mentor” – a KAVODBoard member, rabbi in the community, or lay leader with expertise in the realm of Tzedakah who helps raise and distribute funds in accordance with the values of our tradition. Our fellows are in the process of creating their own annual reports of their Tzedakah work. These reports, as well as a d’var Torah on the subject of KAVOD, will be published on the KAVOD website. KAVODrecognizes that for students to understand fully the challenges (and joys) of giving money away, they must understand the challenges of raising money. So, in addition to an upfront sum thatKAVOD entrusts the fellow to donate, we offer a 1:1 matching grant for funds the fellow raises on her own. Over the four years of the fellowship, each fellow will give away up to $10,000: $6,000 from KAVOD plus another $4,000 raised by the fellow. Alissa and Jocee already have raised over $500 each for this first year (which we have matched) and they are now, with guidance from their mentors, distributing the funds with kavod. Please note: the $58,050 we gave away this year does not include funds that the fellows are distributing. We will tally their tzedakah donations separately and publish it on our website.
We love the idea of the Tzedakah Fellowships for a number of reasons. For one, it’s a greatTzedakah investment – every dollar directed to the fellow will be given to Tzedakah. Plus, the fellow will be raising their own additional funds for Tzedakah. This is a generative program – it’s a fellowship that keeps on giving because we expect great things from these fellows in the years ahead. Years from now, they will be leading synagogues, educating youth and adults, serving on Federation boards, and running their own Tzedakah collectives. We are pleased to announce that we have just selected the 2003 fellows: HUC-JIR students Elana Erdstein and Erica Greenbaum.
An important note: All funds for the Tzedakah Fellowships have been and will be raised separately from our regular fundraising. The KAVOD Board has committed personally to sponsoring one of the fellows. If you’d like to sponsor a fellow (a $6,000 commitment over four years), please contact us at [email protected].
Some Words of Thanks
We are so grateful to everyone who has made this year a success. We offer a special thanks to Mike Abramson, our pro bono accountant, and to the KAVOD Board for its guidance and wisdom. Most of all, we thank Judy Zweiback, our volunteer administrator. Judy donates hundreds of hours a year to KAVOD. She writes every acknowledgement, distributes our beautiful KAVOD tribute cards, and handles all of the day-to-day administration. She is the backbone of our collective.
Please tell your friends about KAVOD, and feel free to make copies of this annual report for distribution. If you would like to see KAVOD reports from previous years, our Tzedakah guide for travelers to Israel, or view our beautiful KAVOD cards featuring artwork created by Ethiopian Jews, visit us online at www.kavod.org. You can donate securities to KAVOD and, if you wish, include us in your will. Please contact us if you would like to know how. Think of us when you want to make a donation in honor or memory of a loved one or friend. Tax-deductible donations can be made to us any time:
8914 Farnam Court
Omaha, NE 68114-4076
Statement of Purpose: KAVOD is a nonprofit tzedakah collective. We create new programs and fund existing programs that help Jews and non-Jews living in the United States, Israel, and around the world to live in dignity and honor. As a tzedakah collective, we try to personalize our giving by visiting all of our beneficiaries and encouraging our donors to do the same. We strive to operate as close to 0% overhead as possible and to support programs that similarly demand efficiency.
- Beit Frankforter…………………………………………$3,000
Inspired by the model of Myriam Mendilow, z”l, the people of Beit Frankforter are committed to preserving the essential KAVOD of their community of Elders in Jerusalem. Simi Zini and her staff have created a community center that truly embodies KAVOD, the dignity, honor, and integrity that every person deserves. The elders served by Beit Frankforter are uplifted and honored, enjoying regular care not only from dentists and ophthalmologists, but also from hairdressers, reflexologists, manicurists, and yoga instructors. Our funds are helping build and equip a room for computer classes, contributing to the enhancement of fine motor, eye-hand coordination and memory abilities. In addition, the use of Internet and e-mail will open worlds, bridge a generation gap, and smash a few stereotypes in the process.
Beit Frankforter – Sima Zini
80 Derech Beit Lechem, POB 10074, Jerusalem, 91100
- Chai Project……………………………………………..$1,500
The Chai Project began as a needle exchange program designed to decrease the transmission of HIV among intravenous drug users. Director Jay Petillo and his volunteers have focused their tireless efforts on education for high-risk populations, emphasizing HIV prevention. Our grant this year supported a breakfast program that is provided as a component of the safe space they offer their participants. Healthy breakfasts are provided Monday through Friday, and participants are also invited to drop in during the day for snacks and drinks. The people at the Chai Project are real heroes, empowering people to recover their dignity and lives. They have the courage to reach out to people whom others turn away. It is a challenge to us all to acknowledge the holy humanness in everyone, in our neighbors whose cry too many pretend not to hear. To support theChai Project is to save lives.
The Chai Project: Jay Petillo
P.O. Box 1470, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
732-247-7014, Fax 732-247-7015
- Congregation Sulam Ya’akov………………………………..$2,500
Congregation Sulam Ya’akov was founded in 1996, the first and only progressive congregation in Zichron Yaakov, a pioneer town settled in the 1880s during the first wave of Aliyah. The congregation is building a wonderful, vibrant community of committed progressive Jews. Such communities, despite receiving no governmental support, provide an essential Jewish framework for social action, inclusiveness, and celebration, serving thousands of modern Israelis whose needs have long been unmet.
Kehilat Sulam Ya’akov: Kenneth Grossberg
POB 1071, Zichron Ya’akov, Israel, 30900
- Eden Alternative………………………………………………$1,500
The Eden Alternative seeks to eliminate the three plagues of the long-term care institution—loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. They know that companion animals, the opportunity to care for other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that come from an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail.
Dr. Bill Thomas teaches that The Eden Alternative “is a new way of thinking about long-term care that has the potential of remaking facilities all over the country. However, before that can happen, we need to teach others about what The Eden Alternative is and how they can use it to transform the facilities in which they work.” Thanks to Dr. Bill’s vision, the principles of the Eden Alternative have taken hold at more than 300 homes nationwide. This year we helped fund a retreat and education center that offers weekend sessions to anyone interested in improving the quality of life for our elders.
The Eden Alternative – Dr. William Thomas
RR1 Box 31B4, Sherburne, NY, 13460
- Elijah’s Promise…………………………………………………..$1,500
Rev. Lisanne Finston runs this model community soup kitchen that not only serves meals, but also provides nourishment for life. Elijah’s Promise in New Brunswick, New Jersey fulfills the highest level of Tzedakah, enabling people to become self-sufficient and to need Tzedakah no longer. Guests at Elijah’s Promise are offered nutritious meals, health screening, counseling and referrals, job training, and more. Most exciting for us is “Promise Jobs,” the culinary school they opened several years ago which teaches the art of food preparation to some of the soup kitchen guests. Graduates of the program have been placed in restaurant jobs throughout New Jersey, including positions in some of the state’s fanciest restaurants. Our donation helped purchase equipment for the training program, including a commercial refrigerator. Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick hires Elijah’s Promise to cook all of its kosher Shabbat dinners.
Elijah’s Promise:Rev. Lisanne Finston
18 Neilson St., New Brunswick, NJ, 08901
- Emergency Relief
This year has been particularly brutal in Israel from an economic standpoint. Israelis are more uncertain about their future than ever. KAVOD has made small donations in many places, but three efforts stand out.
In December, we borrowed an idea from our mentor Danny Siegel, who gave small gifts to Egged bus drivers in appreciation of the dangerous job they do every day. We realized that the crews of Magen David Adom, the Israeli ambulance service, are another strained, imperiled population, arriving first on the scene of bombings to care for victims, and risking exposure to secondary explosions. With some HUC-JIR students, we bought hundreds of bags of nuts, went to the Magen David Adom headquarters, and just gave the crews a gift of a snack and a thank you. They were shocked and delighted.
Also in December, we visited with Danny, a victim of last March’s bombing at Cafe Moment. Danny is a young man who has little use of his left arm now, and is in constant pain. We spent an evening with Danny and made a contribution to help him cover bills and other expenses which have piled up due to his inability to work.
Finally, we have been privileged to support the efforts of Zehava Taub. Zehava lives in Baka, an upscale Jerusalem neighborhood. Quite “by chance,” she discovered several extremely poor families living right amidst the relative affluence of Baka. Instinctively, Zehava took action. With help from friends and neighbors, she coordinates a monthly delivery of a customized food order to each of five families, literally keeping them afloat with a month’s worth of food.
Argentina: ARZA/World Union – $1,500*
Our gift was divided between the school lunch program for needy children at the Arlene Fern Community Day School and the community pharmacy program administered by the Reform congregation in Buenos Aires. These desperately needed funds will go a long way to help sustain these two vital programs at a time when poverty is reaching more and more households, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
Argentina – Community of Lomas de Zamora – $1,250*
Max Gresen and Roberto Streger wrote from Buenos Aires, “It is for us a great pleasure to thank you for your contribution which will provide a large number of families with food and medicine. Your donation means much more than material help to the needy, your contribution provides hope and a future of dignity for many young and old.”
USC Hillel Alternative Trip to South America – $750*
In March, 21 students from the University of Southern California went to Argentina and Uruguay on a goodwill mission to perform community service. Each participant brought an extra bag of donated clothing, food, and used electronics to support the poor of these two countries struggling to remain afloat during turbulent economic times. Students engaged in several significant tzedakah projects while simultaneously studying texts on kavod and tzedakah. Some of the projects directly impacted the Uruguayan Jewish community, while several also offered service to the non-Jewish poor. As Rabbi Jonathan Klein, director of USC Hillel, says, “Imagine orchestrating a program that makes 21 people believe that they are only helping others while they unconsciously help themselves, becoming learned klei kodesh (holy vessels) fulfilling God’s plan that we are partners in perfecting the world. What could be better?”
- Free Loan Societies:
Hebrew Free Loan Society of New York City………………..$3,000
Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Francisco…………..$2,000
Israel Free Loan Association…………………………………….$2,500*
At its website, the Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Francisco shares a great story. Once upon a time, the denizens of Chelm spent a good deal of time worrying. They spent so much time worrying, in fact, that soon they began to worry about just how much they worried. The Grand Council of Wise Men convened a meeting to discuss all this worrying and to find a solution for it. For seven days and seven nights the wise men of Chelm deliberated on the problem, until finally, the chairman announced a solution: Yossel, the chimney sweep, would be designated the official Chelm Worrier. In return for one ruble a week, he would do all the worrying for the residents of Chelm. The Grand Council members agreed — this was the ideal solution: However, right before the vote was taken, one of the sages rose to speak against the proposal. “Wait a minute,” he announced. “If Yossel were to receive one ruble a week, then what would he have to worry about?”
And what do we have to worry about? Survival and continuity, and Jewish survival and continuity in particular. The Hebrew Free Loan Program guarantees this survival and continuity by creating independence for new immigrants, young families, students, and others in need. These societies nurture and affirm the core values of KAVOD by celebrating the dignity of those who need assistance, giving them an opportunity to repay their interest-free loans. They are the besttzedakah investments, for our contributions are recycled again and again. Be a hero yourself, and contact us to find out how to set one up in your town.
Hebrew Free Loan Society : Shana Novick
205 East 42nd St., Suite 1318, NY, NY 10017
Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Francisco
717 Market Street, Suite 555, San Francisco, CA, 94103
Israel Free Loan Association : Prof. Eliezer Jaffe
64 Azza Street, 92384 Jerusalem, Israel
- Hebrew Free Burial Association…………………………$1,000
The Hebrew Free Burial Association of New York brings peace of mind to impoverished elderly people who worry about who will handle their last needs, and eases the sorrow for families who have no funds for their loved ones’ funerals. Free Burial Associations, in the words of Gerald Feldhamer, president of the HFBA, spare families of poor Jews the “pain and humiliation of having to endure a pauper’s funeral.” This is one of the highest acts of gemilut chasadim, because the recipient cannot say thank you. This contribution was made in memory of Hermene Zweiback, who helped shape the vision of KAVOD, and whose loving example urges us on.
Hebrew Free Burial Association
363 Seventh Ave
NY, NY, 10001
- HUC-JIR’s Menschlich Soup Kitchen………………………$1,000
The College-Institute’s seal says: “To educate leaders who will make the Torah come alive, to sustain our Jewish heritage and to ensure a rich Jewish future for our children, their children and generations to come.” The people who run the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion’s soup kitchen are the leaders who make the Torah come alive. They go out of their way not only to nourish hundreds of weekly guests physically, but also to nourish their sense ofKAVOD. Every Monday evening, hundreds of guests are welcomed to the HUC-JIR soup kitchen with warm food, warm smiles, and flowers and tablecloths on the tables. Some volunteers serve heaping dishes, while others bring their needle and thread to mend the guests’ clothing, and others play soothing music on the piano. Law students from NYU donate their time and give free legal advice. Local high schools and colleges learn the principles of KAVOD, dignity and honor, through volunteering. More than a soup kitchen, this is a dynamic gathering place for the entire community.
HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen: Rabbi Aaron Panken
1 West 4th Street, NY, NY, 10012
- INTRA – Mitzvah Horses………………………………….$2,500
Anita Shkedi answered the question, “What is a human being?” with the following beautiful list:
- To give of yourself without expecting reward
- To enjoy giving of yourself
- To try to understand the needs of others
- To listen to others
- To hear what their needs are
- To treat every day of your life as your last day, and try to have no regrets.
Anita and Giora Shkedi launched INTRA — Mitzvah Horses, (Israel National Therapeutic Riding Association), their new center for therapeutic horseback riding in Hadassah Neurim, Israel. There they continue to do their breathtaking work, utilizing the tools of therapeutic horseback riding to achieve astonishing breakthroughs where other forms of physical therapy fail. Anita and Giora open up new worlds to people with a wide array of emotional and/or physical difficulties (including wounded soldiers and victims of terror). If you never have seen therapeutic horseback riding in person, by all means find a center near you (or, even better, arrange a trip to Israel to meet Anita, one of the world’s acknowledged experts on the subject). The results are sublime, inspirational, and nothing short of miraculous.
INTRA-Mitzvah Horses : Anita & Giora Shkedi
Hadassah Neurim, Hadassah Village, 40298, Israel
Visit the website for the Israel Religious Action Center, and you will find lists of court rulings and numerous fascinating articles that reveal an Israel struggling for its freedom and conscience. IRAC, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, is a leader in that struggle. According to Rabbi Uri Regev, the visionary former director of IRAC, “Only when the establishment and the public recognize, as one, that the rainbow’s rich diversity is what can truly unite us, will a new era of dynamic Judaism and democracy begin in the State of Israel.” In assisting IRAC in its noble cause, we express our devotion to religious freedom, pluralism, tolerance, social justice, and civil liberties in Israel. Anat Hoffman wrote to us, “In our prayer book it says, ‘For we are all partners in tikkun olam.’ In our current situation, however, the fear for our physical survival erodes this Jewish mandate for tikkun olam. Yet I am convinced that it is forbidden for us to lose the ability to be a mensch – no matter how debilitated we feel. This is why our work at IRAC is so important. I think of IRAC as tikkun olam in action. I am proud of the changes (tikkunim) that have been made under our influence in Israeli society and proud of the fact that we have worked in partnership with so many of our friends. Friends like you.”
IRAC : Anat Hoffman
18 Shlomtzion HaMalka Street, Jerusalem, ISRAEL 91319
- Jewish Life in the Former Soviet Union: ARZA……………………….$1,000
“A human being is someone with a heart and soul,” said Mandy Eisner of ARZA/WORLD UNION. We have provided sponsorship for a student at the World Union for Progressive Judaism’sMachon Institute in Moscow, where a new generation of community leaders is being trained to serve throughout the Former Soviet Union. Our sponsorship will help a young student, Igor Klimovitskiy, pay for tuition, books and supplies, transportation, and room and board in Moscow while he attends the Machon. There is no more important task than the training of a knowledgeable Jewish leader to assume responsibility for the future of Jewish life in the FSU. Currently just three ordained rabbis serve 100 Progressive congregations! Igor wrote to us, “At present I work in the Progressive Jewish community in Dnepropetrovsk and I try to do everything possible for the growth of this community. I am grateful for your support, which provided me with the opportunity to study and to work for the Movement of Progressive Judaism.”
ARZA : Ammiel Hirsch
633 Third Ave
NY, NY 10017
- Linda Feldman Rape Crisis Center…………………………………$1,500
The Linda Feldman Rape Crisis Center in Jerusalem helps survivors of sexual abuse. They also run educational programs for Israeli high school students to raise awareness about abuse and harassment. About one third of the callers to the Rape Crisis Center hotline are under 18 years old. So many of these young survivors are afraid to seek much needed medical and emotional help, and it is truly a blessing for them to have a safe place like the Crisis Center to find solace and counsel. Jane Jacobs wrote us, “2002 has presented a challenging year for the Center. In tense times such as these, our services remain all the more crucial and pertinent to the victims of sexual violence in the Jerusalem Region.” JRCC remains the only organization offering this kind of support in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
Linda Feldman Rape Crisis Center
P.O.B. 2549, Jerusalem, Israel, 91024
- Magein/Irena Gaster Hoste………………………………………….$2,000
The Magein hostel is a large group home for developmentally disabled adults. Sara Sherman helps these people live lives of dignity and meaning by enabling them to perform wonderful acts ofchesed, lovingkindness. Mageiniks joyfully contribute to their community, making hamantaschenand distributing them for Purim, baking challot for Shabbat at Congregation Kol Haneshamah, visiting sick children at Hadassah hospital, caring for their mini-zoo teeming with life. Last year, fourteen residents celebrated a joint b’nai mitzvah ceremony. The participants had been studying for six months, and decorated their own prayer books, talitot, and covers for the Torah scrolls. Each participant had a distinct role in the service, from opening the ark to reading directly from the Torah. The staff at Magein has given these adults with Down syndrome and other mental handicaps the most wonderful gift of all — the ability to help others and become partners with God in tikkun olam, repairing the world.
Magein – Sara Sherman
100 Derech Hebron, Talpiot, Israel
- Maureen Kushner………………………………………….$1,300
Maureen Kushner channels her immense creativity into empowering children to share, explore, and understand their own extraordinary histories. It was written about her, “Kushner has definitely found her passion – not just teaching, but teaching big dreams to children who otherwise might not have had much of a chance.” She created the “Kids’ Comedy Club,” which started in New York’s Washington Heights. The Club has hundreds of twelve-year old members. The Club requires them to read at least twenty humorous books a year, draw, write, and perform. She said, “Humor helped them reach a new plateau, inspired them to respond to a higher calling…sometimes you see a child is so bored. And then, if you do it right, you find this world inside them. You see there is hope. Beyond every bored face, there’s a world of hope.” She helps Ethiopian Jews create art that celebrates and documents their long, heroic journey, and helps Jewish and Arab children identify their prejudices through art. This year our contribution helped with her “Peace Through Humor” workshop for Jewish, Arab, Druze, and Bedouin children. It gave kids a creative outlet to express their feelings while teaching tolerance and understanding through jokes. Maureen traveled on foot and by bus all over Israel presenting this workshop. “When kids listen to the inside of their hearts and discover the best part of themselves, peace will be possible,” she said. We have KAVOD cards available featuring artwork created by Ethiopian Jews in Maureen’s programs. The cards themselves were produced through a special donation for this purpose made by a KAVOD supporter. You can see the cards on our website www.KAVOD.org. For more information about the cards, contact Judy Zweiback, 8914 Farnam Court, Omaha, NE 68114, (402) 397-1975, [email protected].
122 Park Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217
In 1981 twelve North American Jews went on a mission to Ethiopia that was to change their lives and those of Ethiopian Jews forever. Riding on mules, this small group made their way up the Semien Mountains in northwest Ethiopia to remote villages where Jews lived, isolated from the rest of the Jewish world for 2,000 years. The appalling poverty, illness, and hunger they saw there, coupled with a deep commitment to Jewish life, so moved the participants that they returned home wholly devoted to the rescue of this phenomenal Jewish community. Shortly thereafter, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry was born. This grassroots movement was founded with four mandates: to help Ethiopian Jews survive in Ethiopia, to assist them in reaching Israel, to aid in their absorption in Israel, and to preserve their unique and ancient culture. NACOEJ provides livelihoods through embroidery projects, scholarships for studies, Bar/Bat Mitzvah training, and phone calls to family members left behind in Ethiopia, helping people live with dignity and pride. Not only does NACOEJ provide assistance to 900 elementary school children, 1000 high schoolers, and over 300 college students, but they are deeply involved in alleviating great suffering in Gondar Province and Addis Ababa. We are proud to assist in this critical tzedakah work on both sides of the Red Sea.
NACOEJ – Barbara Ribakove Gordon
132 Nassau Street, 4th Floor, NY, NY, 10038
- No Limits………………………………………………………………$750
Founder of No Limits, Michelle Christie, writes, “A human being is an individual of mind and body created by God that exudes a spirit of life through its similarities and differences, perfections and imperfections, originality and commonness and hopefully through his/her generosity and kindness will have a lasting positive impact on another human being and the world.” Our gift to this extraordinary theater group allowed eight deaf and hard of hearing children from the Greater New Jersey area to participate in a fun and creative production of “Mission Possible.” Participating in this empowering show improved their speech, communication skills, and self-esteem. The kids performed four sold-out shows and held special performances for local schools. It was a wonderful way for No Limits actors to have their hearing friends see them shine on stage! This marvelous theater group provides deaf children with the vital skills needed so their future dreams will have no limits.
9801 Washington Blvd., 2nd Floor, Culver City, CA 90232
- Project Ezra…………………………………………………………$3,000
Under the guidance of Misha Avramoff, Project Ezra has been supporting older adult Jews on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for the past 25 years. They combat poverty, despair and loneliness, and treat those they serve with the utmost tenderness, love, and honor. Project Ezra is there, from augmenting the below poverty level social security of many elders, to sending art therapists to homebound elders, many of whom suffering from dementia, helping them use art to communicate. Misha Avramoff writes, “The pendulum of history swings in both directions, and what was a once-thriving, successful economy is experiencing serious setbacks…We at Project Ezra are feeling the crunch, but we have not cut down on services, and, if anything, we have increased our efforts to make lives more comfortable and secure. Our frail elders cannot be told that we need to retrench and spend less on their well being until the economic situation improves. Many may not be here when that happens. We will continue to stretch the small Social Security pensions that our elders live on. Above all, we will dispel the isolation and loneliness that too often accompany old age. We celebrated Chanukah by taking over one hundred twenty frail elders to Park Avenue Synagogue. Our van and car bring elders to our daily havurot and the warmth and laughter of Ezra… Please feel good, as I do, knowing that tikkun olam consists of the ‘small victories’ that you help us achieve on the Lower East Side.”
Project Ezra – Misha Avramoff
197 E. Broadway, NY, NY, 10002
- Rabbanit Bracha Kapach…………………………………$3,000
Rabbanit Bracha Kapach, an Israel Prize winner, feeds the hungry, provides for poor brides, and created a summer camp for poor children. She provides educational material for children, helps couples finance their marriage, supports old and lonely people with food, clothing and trips, and embraces all of those who seemed to have slipped through the holes of the “safety net.” There is so much love in her heart, she draws needy people near and gives with the generosity of a fruit tree. This year, we assisted the Rabbanit in providing Passover packages for over 5,500 families in need of nourishment and hope.
The Rabbanit Bracha Kapach
12 Lod St. Jerusalem
Rabbi Kalman Samuels, founder and director of Shalva, writes, “A human being is that unique being, created in the image of God, who possesses a vast array of powers of the universe. He has been given dominion over his world and free choice to care for and nurture the world he lives in. Alone he is weak and feeble, but together with his peers, he can perform small miracles.”Shalva was founded on the premise that mentally and physically challenged children are not just the responsibility of the families to which they were born. “Heaven’s very special children” and their families need and deserve the support of the extended community to be part of society and not apart. Shalva is their lifeline, an answered prayer, providing developmentally disabled children with a loving environment that helps them reach their full potential and gives parents the ability to keep them at home, within the family. Shalva founders Kalman and Malky Samuels dreamed of a state-of-the-art center for mentally and physically challenged children that would instill pride in those who came through its doors. This dream became a reality with the opening of the ShalvaChildren’s Center, with fantastic programs such as hydrotherapy, support programs, music, art, computer, psychodrama and pet therapy and a veritable wonderland for the senses. At Shalva, small miracles happen every moment of every day.
SHALVA: Rabbi Kalman Samuels
P.O.B. Box 35199 Jerusalem, 91351
- Shoes That Fit……………………………………….$1,000
Since January 2000, Shoes That Fit has donated over 61,000 items to needy children nationwide. They have over 400 sites in 25 states and are still growing. Thanks to gifts like ours and an outstanding group of volunteers, thousands of impoverished youngsters will be able to attend school in comfort and with dignity. Shoes That Fit provides children in need with shoes and clothing that make them feel good about being in school. One kindergarten teacher, Esther Smith, wrote: “If the persons who bought the gifts had been in my classroom, they would have seen: a girl who came to school in workout tennies on a frigid snowy morning returning home that afternoon in warm, lined boots; three boys, one in layered sweatshirts, one in his father’s padded flannel shirt, and one with a handed-down jacket with a broken zipper all receive warm, hooded jackets; a girl who beamed speechlessly to herself when she received a coat. She regained her voice, though, in time to say, ‘Hello’ to everyone in the hallway as she walked to the bus, so that they would notice the marvelous coat she was wearing home! Had they been in my classroom, the donors might have had lumps in their throats and realized what truly meaningful gifts they had given.”
Shoes That Fit – Elodie Silva
689 W. Foothill Blvd. Suite B, Claremont, CA, 91711
- Ta Shma…………………………………………………$3,000
Rabbi Leon Dow, founder and director of Ta Shma, says: “A human being is a creature endowed with the unique capacity to live a life of moral and spiritual significance through the conscious decision to see in his or her fellow human being, and in the world of creation in which s/he participates, an ‘other’ in need of relationship, attention, and care.”
For Ta Shma (“Come and Hear”), nothing is more essential to the Jewish tradition of learning thanmachloket, disagreement. Ta Shma’s educators have developed an educational methodology based on a deep belief that Judaism’s vitality is rooted in the contemporary meeting of many oftentimes dissonant voices. Ta Shma offers its participants a unique atmosphere of learning that is not merely tolerant, it’s genuinely pluralistic. In each Ta Shma event, faculty members of different ‘flavors’ of Judaism — Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, unidentified, and undefined — join together to plan and execute the program in its entirety. It offers young adults in Israel programs that explore Jewish texts from a uniquely pluralistic perspective, resulting in a powerful and memorable Jewish learning experience. We at KAVOD are proud to support such a program that seeks to unite brothers and sisters over Torah, with respect for each student’s beliefs and background. Our funds were used toward a weekend seminar for American students studying at Israeli universities, covering half of the seminar’s cost.
Ta Shma: Pluralistic Jewish Learning – Rabbi Leon Dow
Box 10156; Jerusalem, ISRAEL; 91101
- The Roof …………………………………………………….$1,500
The “Roof” is the only one of its kind in Israel, with demobilized soldiers using its facilities coming from all parts of the country. The intention is to provide these young people with the opportunity to develop themselves, to complete their education, and to acquire a practical or skilled profession.Yehuda Harris wrote to us, “The demands upon the Roof for assistance in providing housing for demobilized soldiers who wish to continue their education but lack a place to stay have grown dramatically in recent years. We are therefore particularly pleased and encouraged by your continuing support at this time.” The boys and girls accepted into the “Roof” generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds, including those without family. Students can remain at the “Roof” just as long as they continue studying to acquire a profession. Volunteers ease the lives of the students by supplying basic foods and other amenities for making the “roof” a home. Graduates from these programs are proudly able to take their place in Israeli society.
83 Shivat-Zion St., P.O. Box 1311, Haifa, Israel, 31012
Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity is an association of eye care professionals who travel to impoverished communities all over the world providing free eye care to those in need. They also serve the eyesight needs of people in several homeless shelters. Our funds were used to acquire needed equipment and eyeglass supplies. It enables VOSH to continue its work providing eyeglasses to patients who need them. These patients are usually working people with no insurance and low incomes. VOSH has conducted missions to every major continent during its existence, as well as domestic missions at homeless shelters. VOSH operates with zero overhead because the doctors cover their own expenses and equipment is donated.
VOSH – Ronald Weingart, O.D.
1335 Douglas Road, Montgomery, IL, 60538
- Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers………………………………..$3,000
In the early days of the State of Israel, it was not unknown for locals to be approached on the street by an energetic man who would ask what they could do for the new immigrants who were arriving daily. That man was Ya’akov Maimon, and he believed that every individual had a unique gift that they could offer each new arrival — whether in the form of language tutorial, lessons on how to balance a checkbook, babysitting, or teaching a trade. That special, caring attention to individuality is what marks the Maimon volunteers, and is lived out every day by their director, Yoel Dorkam. Today’s immigrants, from Russia, Ethiopia, South America, Eastern Europe, and the rest of the Jewish world, are finding their arrivals in Israel much less jolting thanks to Yoel’s volunteers. He is our first resource for questions and concerns about the compassionate absorption of new immigrants into Israeli society.
Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers – Yoel Dorkam
Kibbutz Palmach Tzuba, D.N. Haray Yehuda, Israel
- Yad Ezra – Helping Hand…………………………………2,500
One of the most neglected segments of any society is the mentally ill. For almost fifty years, Yad Ezra has been dedicating itself to seeking out, screening, and extending “a helping hand” to the mentally ill and the needy in Israel. Yad Ezra offers its assistance through a network of special supermarkets, dental clinics, workshops, soup kitchens, hostels, and day-care centers. Yad Ezrahas a soup kitchen as well in which “a unique group of people, some homeless, others stricken in spirit or by poverty, or by a broken home, comprise about 100 men and women who visit these premises daily. For 40% of the visitors, these premises have become their home. Along with the three meals offered daily, a delicate balance of educational lectures, guidance classes, and common prayer sessions have been introduced to strengthen and feed the spirit of visitors. A library on the premises offers a large variety of selected books and a quiet and calm atmosphere to soothe the painful spirit of many of its visitors.”
Yad Ezra – Samuel Katz
P.O.B. 7199, Jerusalem, Israel
- ZIV Tzedakah Fund………………………………………..$500
Danny Siegel, founder of Ziv writes, “By being fashioned in the Image of God, by definition, each person is endowed with kavod, human dignity. The purpose of tzedakah/mitzvahs/tikkun olam is to remind us and teach us how to relate to others with kavod, preserving their dignity.” Ziv Tzedakah Fund celebrates ordinary people who have found their way into mitzvah work and have grown; exceeding their old visions of themselves, and have become giants in human action and human spirit.
ZIV – Naomi Eisenberger
384 Wyoming Ave., Millburn, NJ, 07041